Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Other World

            It had rained all of that week. Heavy rains, flooded roads, school & colleges were closed. But today since morning it had not rained. Though dark clouds still floated low in the sky, they looked tired, and spent. Like the soldiers that remained of a raging battle, tired of war and wanting some peace. Cold wind blew over the clouds carrying them around with it, as if to comfort them.
            The same wind blew over the terrace of a bungalow. Its might set free the clothes clipped for drying on a nylon rope tied between a pipe on one corner of the terrace & a hook on a wall near another corner. The freed clothes blew with full might with the wind & into the face of a young girl just about twenty, who just like the clouds was trying to get some peace of mind, but the wind wouldn’t let her brood quietly in peace. In anger, she made as if to pull apart the ends of a dupatta – but afraid that it might tear, she just grimaced at it, gathered the clothes and left the terrace in disgust.
            In her room she threw the clothes on the bed and then threw herself on them & closed her eyes. Atleast the fresh clothes felt soft & comforting. But she soon got up again to do what she had already done several times that day – checked her cell phone. Her fingers automatically worked their way into the inbox, even though there was no new message. She went through the last few messages once more. She felt sick with herself for doing this. Yet her eyes hoped to see the new message alert with his name flashed on the screen of her phone, like it used to in the past. She felt a surge of helplessness again, the uncontrollable urge to send him a message or call him. May be he would reply this time. May be. Or may be not. May be should not. There was nothing she could get out of it anyway. She looked for other names in her contact list. May be she could chat with someone else. But she gave up midway. There was no one. Or there was. But she had nothing to say to anyone. Now that she had said too much to one person…
But she had to break out of this. She got up from her bed, went to the bathroom and turned on the tap. Cold water gushed out of it. She held the cup of her palm to it and splashed the water on her face. As she wiped her face dry with the towel, she looked at the reflection of her eyes in the mirror. Brown eyes. Tired eyes, that pleaded to her for that one thing she couldn’t give them anymore. She closed them & rested her head on the mirror for a minute. Only a minute. NO! She was going to break out of this. She had done it before. With a surge of energy and determination she walked out, changed into her outdoor clothes & went outside to take a walk.
            She had read somewhere that when you go out – you see things, eat things, smile at people – you are forced to talk, make conversation & that will take you back to reality. But not here. She was new in this place. No one seemed to be interested in talking & though the language they spoke here was her mother tongue, she was not very comfortable while speaking to the locals.
            She saw a tea stall at the end of the road. Tea would be good. Tea was exactly what she needed. Its warmth in this cold weather would do good to her mood.

*****

I was fine the way I was,
I had learnt to live with pain,
Safe in my little hole,
I had learnt to cry alone.

And then, you came along one day,
To pull me out of my safe haven,
You made me laugh at all the pain,
You taught me to dream, once again.

Slowly I learnt to trust you,
I let you hold my hand & take me out into the world,
You had promised that,
You would stay by my side forever.

I had begun to accept you,
As indeed a beautiful part of my life,
And suddenly you decided to let go

I wanted you to stay, but there was nothing I could do.

As I frantically tried to get you back, in vain,
Only painful silences & calculated words remained,
Sadly, what you taught me still remains,
Though I want to cry, I can only laugh at my pain,
Now I crave for tears & it drives me insane.

Then she stopped writing & held the paper up to read what she had written. It was not a good poem, but she had expressed something. Whatever. Atleast now she felt slightly, infinitesimally better. She folded  the paper & returned the pen to the tea stall owner. The tea stall was a low, neat shed with worn looking stools placed around a few tables. Only two other people sat there.
On one of the stools, she sat staring into the distance as if deep in thought, though her mind was blank. It was as if now her thoughts were in the paper she held in her hand, so she had nothing to think.
            “Are you Triveni Amma’s granddaughter?”
She turned. Two ladies had entered the stall. One of the ladies had white hair and fair but wrinkled face. She was positively beaming at her. The other lady who had asked her the question was much younger in comparison, around 45. She wore a lot of gold & a big round bindi on her forehead.
            “Yes, how do you..??”
            “I told you, didn’t I?” said the older of the two ladies. “She looks just like her mother. When did you arrive? Where are your parents?”
            “They’ve gone to the city for some work. They’ll be back in the evening around 7 may be.”
            “Oh, you are alone now, are you? Come with us, we are going to the temple.”
            “No, its ok! I …..”
            “Come dear. You should never say no for going to the temple. And don’t sit all alone like this.”
Not having the energy to refuse she just gave in. On the way they interrogated her about what she was doing, where she was staying, what job, blah blah. But whenever she spoke, they interrupted her with their comments. “Oh she talks so sweetly na!” “She looks just like her mother..” “But she’s shy now. When she was little, she used to harass everyone so much. Triveni used to bring her to the temple in the afternoon, so that her grandfather could take his afternoon nap.”
The temple was an orange building situated at a height, at the end of the road, if you took a left from the tea stall. You had to climb four semi-circular steps to reach its entrance. There were no side walls, only a big verandah & round pillars to support the structure. The pillars had impressions of the Radha Krishna pair on them. At the centre was a small room where an idol of Lord Krishna playing his bansoori (flute) stood. Krishna was surrounded by flowers, coconuts, fruits & essence sticks. The bowl of fruits reminded her of the time when she & her cousins used to steal bananas from a similar bowl in her grandfather’s puja room. It reminded her of the time when she was little, when she came to this village every year in the vacations. It suddenly hit her that after so many years, she was in the same place, as if time had not passed at all…
People were coming in groups and sitting on a side of the verandah, after doing namaskara (touching one’s head to the feet of God) in front of the idol of Lord Krishna. Some were laying jute mats and placing musical instruments on them. Something was going to start here.
“We have a bhajana group here. People of the group come & perform here every Saturday afternoon. Its refreshing to listen to them.” The younger lady said, noticing her watching the group. “You want to stay back for it? I have to leave, we have work at home. Wait. Let me see.” She took her to a group of ladies & introduced her. There was a general show of pleasure & surprise on seeing Triveni Amma’s granddaughter. In the midst of this, a bald man in his mid 40s, wearing a lungi and sitting cross legged in front of the audience, started playing the tabla. Silence fell. The lady quietly left, leaving her sitting alone with the group.
The next few hours were bliss. Singers came one by one and sang songs mostly in praise of Lord Krishna, his childhood, his mother & the Radha Krishna pair. Some people were counting the beats by patting their thighs & nodding their heads in appreciation when a solo was played on the veena or when the singer pulled off with ease a long, difficult alaap with many twists & turns.
The tanpura’s rhythmic vibration in the background in medley with the sitar, the veena, the singer’s voice & the beats of the tabla in the right places accentuating the meaning of the singer’s words – it enraptured her. It was ironic, she felt – an atheist, swaying in agreement to a song in praise of Lord Krishna. But then, she did feel the need to praise, the performers – for the way they sang or played in perfect co ordination, the creators of the musical instruments – the tabla, the sitar, the playful veena or the rhythmic tanpura that held together the whole family to make the music complete, the people who were able to create this music. Or for music itself – the divine magical being that could give you this beautiful, out of the world experience, an ocean that pulled her & made her want to be a part of it. She felt this unwavering devotion for it. She realized, what the people here felt for their God, she felt for music. Music was her God & she unconsciously prayed to it to let her become a part of it.
Before she knew, the session was over & they were packing up. She got up silently and left the temple, as if talking to someone would adulterate the mood that the music had set in her. She walked home silently in a daze as the sun set. As she walked, she suddenly felt drops of rain. She looked up and smiled silently in her head as the raindrops soon turned into a shower and drenched her completely.
At home, as she changed her clothes & dried her hair with a towel – the cell phone beeped, finally his name flashed on the screen. The message read, “ Hey wassup? I m sorry was busy the other day when you messaged. Howz it going? Hope you are doing fine. Miss u.” She contemplated replying, but didn’t know what to reply. Strangely he suddenly felt like someone from a different world. Later. She thought. She left the cell on the table to go to the kitchen and cook something special for her parents, before they returned from the city in time for dinner.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Random Musings

Beautiful weather. Makes me want to write something. So much beauty & the weather is so pleasant. A perfect weather for World Environment Day. Its as if the rain too is celebrating the day of mother nature.

I can't explain the reason or the way it feels. But this smell of dampness everywhere. Still drops of water lining the grill of my window. Some drops ready to fall, some fall on my head when i bend down to look outside. Wet roads - cars & buses splashing through small puddles of water ( there is the pothole & water logging problem too - but thats a different story, may be for an angry blog i might write at a later time.)

Chirping birds. There is a thick wire running from the terrace of my building to God knows where ...... but a small baby parrot is balancing itself on the wire, while the breeze moves it - looks like its playing swing. Other birds are fluffing and fluttering their feathers to dry them. Leaves of trees have drops on them similar to the ones on my grill - bigger drops may be. But the leaves look greener, fresher. Their wood is damp. There is a cool breeze in the air. Everything looks so happy. So heavenly.

I feel like standing here at the window forever, taking in as much of this beautiful picture as i can. It makes me wish I was a painter, so i could turn this into a picturesque painting and keep it with me forever.

I know this is a normal thing - will happen quite a few times in the next few months. But it still makes me happy. It happens every year, yet I feel this fresh excitement, when it starts to rain.

Memories of rains in the past years only make this weather more endearing. Playing in the muddy playground in school, sitting for classes with our wet umbrellas and wind-cheaters kept in a cluster in the corner or outside the classroom for drying. At home, staring outside at the drizzling rain instead of paying attention to homework.

Going for my first day in college - making new friends - taking a walk with them in the drizzling rain through the muddy paths in the botanical garden. The mixed uncertainty and excitement. Or days when I bunked lectures with my college group to go and watch a movie - waiting outside in the rain for others in the group to arrive or sometimes hiding away from professors in empty classrooms and corridors till the rain subsided a bit and the knee deep water filled outside our campus went down.

This weather has an essence of those days, of all those happy memories and thats what makes it more enchanting. It brings a smile to my lips - makes me happy - for no particular reason other than - its raining! :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Little things do matter

I was stuck in the middle of a jam packed bus, inching forward in the crowd, trying to find a place in the bus to atleast stand a little comfortably.

Fortunately, next to where I half stood, a slightly plump lady, with mehendi brown, neatly tied hair, in a salwar kameez (strongly reminded me of my hindi teacher) got up.

Relieved, I pushed my way to her seat and sat down. Though much much better than half-standing, sitting in a Mulund bound bus passing through Saki Naka - is not as comfortable as you might imagine. I was still squeezed in between a sari-clad lady who along with herself had also placed her thin undernourished son (may be around 5 yrs old) on the seat - and a fat lady holding a large purse standing on my left. She was standing facing me and the window, ready to pounce on my seat the moment I got up. She kept leaning on me for support, backing off a little when I looked up and glared at her. The corner of her square, brown, leather purse kept jabbing at my cheeks - or my neck if I shifted a little to avoid it. Hot air blew in through the window mixed with dust and exhausts from all the other vehicles on the road.

It was going to take atleast 45 minutes more to reach Saki Naka, where I work. So I took out a book of CAT problems (Quantitative Ability - Numbers - my favourite chapter). With only a month to go for CAT, I stand little chance of cracking it; still thinking over these problems is a nice way of keeping your mind engaged. Otherwise such miserable conditions induce your mind to collect all the negative thoughts in your head and replay them again and again, till you are drained of all energy and will power to survive the rest of the day.

But today, as I tried to study with one hand on my book and the other trying to shield me from the purse, I found it impossible to concentrate. Instead I found myself following the pattern of little squares and circles on the brown bag that kept coming alternatively closer and further from my eyes. It made me feel drowsy. A nice start for the day. :(

I looked up, to take my eyes off the bag – an old, thin, weak looking lady was standing now a little ahead of my seat, clutching at a vertical rod with both hands. She must have been around seventy years old. I didn’t see her coming. She was not very noticeable. Short, thin, and the kind of person who tried her best not to disturb anyone or come in their way. Her face was pale, dry, shriveled skin wrapped over her thin facial structure. It made her eyes look big. Those were tired eyes, looking here and there hoping for a place to sit. They wore a resigned look, which said she had accepted long ago that she had to suffer, without any help. She had to bear with it, however unbearable.. She had no choice.

Now in one of your short distance buses most people would promptly get up and offer her their seat. After all she was old and we are supposed to be sensitive and respect our elders. But it is in longer distance buses like this one that these values are really put to test. When faced with the prospect of standing, being pushed and dragged about for more than an hour, such values are usually held aside for the time being.

My immediate reaction on seeing her, was to look down again into my book as if I had not seen her at all. A voice spoke in my head. You ought to give her your seat you know!

I looked up again. Nah! She’ll manage.

Voice: Obviously she’ll manage better if she gets to sit.
Me: Oh come on! Not my problem.
Voice: Wouldn’t you have wanted someone to offer a seat if you were not
well?
Me: So why me? Someone else can do it too. Look at all those losers. They
don’t even care.
Voice: You are one of them.
Me: I have to study see?
Voice: I know how much you’ve been studying.
Me: Still, I have to try at least.
Voice: Fine then. But spend the rest of the day hating yourself for being so
heartless.


That last thought was too much for me to handle. I packed my book back into my bag, looked up and tapped the old lady on her shoulders. “Aunty, you want to sit?”

So for the rest of the journey I stood. Some of the older ladies gave me an appreciating look. One of them even offered to hold my bag.

It was actually a good feeling. For some reason it was not so difficult to stand anymore. I know I didn’t make a big difference to her life as a whole. I didn’t do anything great for the betterment of humanity in general. But atleast for one day, for the moment, I made life easier for that one person. And ……. I don’t know! It felt good. :)

And I remembered something my class teacher, Prabha Ma’am had taught me in school years ago in a value education class,

“Never let your conscience be silenced. For any reason whatsoever. Then you can be rest assured that whatever you are doing is right. Because your conscience always knows.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Random....

A random thought that came to my mind that I decided to write down.....

Trying to find something challenging to do. Getting into something that seems interesting. Thinking its pretty easy you can do it. Getting deeper and deeper into it. Realising how vast it is, how much there is to do, how clueless you really are. Still pushing yourself. Walking down the road making plans and to-do lists in your head. Starting off work with something you really didn’t plan to do. Forgetting to have your meal because you are working on something "so important”. Realizing the next day that whatever you had been doing on the previous day was quite useless & of no consequence. Seeing your work tumbling down. Wondering why you ever got into this in the first place. Fights, misunderstandings, volatile moods, tempers, criticisms….

Walking down the road wondering why life is so bloody unfair to you. Going numb. Ignoring everyone & everything.

Sleepless nights spent lying lifeless in your bed, staring at the rectangular patch of golden light from the nearby street lamp on the ceiling – thinking uncontrollably about your project – all the plans – all the “useless” efforts – what was needed, what should have been done. Suddenly getting an idea out of nowhere that links everything …… thinking again & again about the same idea – getting convinced that it will solve everything.

Waking up the next day to a vague memory of last night. Not feeling as convinced now that the idea can be made to work. Following it anyways. Watching things working out. Watching your dreams slowly turn into reality. Giving it the finishing touches. Finding yourself humming a beautiful song. Smiling at everyone you meet.

Periods of my life when I LIVED. Periods that are etched in my memory. Memories of random people unexpectedly coming & helping out. New friends, new lessons, new understanding.

That’s what life is all about. There is nothing more frustrating than an idle mind. Find yourself something to do, something to go mad about. A project, a song, an idea, your boyfriend – anything. You might not always succeed in the end – but you will realize later that the real fun was while working on it …… that’s when you really lived to your fullest – times that left behind lessons, memories, friends – everything that you’ll always cherish for the rest of your life……..

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Escape

It was full moon. Summer. Around two in the night. The air was still. Outside the trees stood dark and still, an occasional light breeze stirring a few leaves, but you would notice it only if you were watching since a long time.
And the longer you watched the trees, the more convinced you would get that they had life, and secrets. They knew, they understood a lot of things. But for some reason they preferred to be on their own, watching from a distance, pretending innocence.
The moon shone into the room through the open window. She sat there at the window, her head resting on the palm of her right hand, elbow on the white marble window sill. Her left hand hand half hanging out of the window as if to catch invisible raindrops. In the silver moonlight, her skin otherwise dusky seemed pale and white. She sat like that in her room, door closed to shut her for the time being from what went on in the rest of the house. Her eyes watched the shadow of the leaves, on the ground three floors below, through the gap between her fingers. She was a girl of twelve.
Outside her room the voices had ceased. There was no more shouting, no more noise of breaking glass, no more whining. She felt heavy. Something inside her wanted to sob bitterly, loudly, wail through the quiet neighbourhood. But she sat still. Willing the tears to come. The sob struggled up her throat but got lost somewhere on the way before it could reach her eyes. The tears wouldn't come.
And she continued to sit there. On the surface, her face looked calm, though her eyes glinted in the moonlight, giving away the rage that she felt within. Her eyes were now focused on the palm of her left hand. They followed the pattern of lines on it. A dark line ran down from the top left and stopped somewhere before it reached the bottom right. She couldnt stop looking at it..................
Fresh red blood trickled out as she finished drawing a shallow slit over the line with a blade. She bent her palm a little to feel the pain - the thin red line was slowly dotted by small drops of blood till it was transformed into a thick uneven line and blood trickled down the side of her hand.
At the same time, two little drops of tears trickled down the sides of her eyes as she cringed in pain. And then she wept. Softly. Once she gasped loudly for breath. But she shut her mouth with her free hand to stifle the sound. Allowing herself only to wail softly.
For a long time she let the tears flow out noiselessly till her eyes were finally dry again -- and the blood had stopped soaking the handkerchief she held against her palm.
Then she hid away the handkerchief that she would dispose off later, pulled a blanket over herself and shut her eyes to get some sleep before another miserable day would begin.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unsaid Words

A beautiful day, a heavenly place,
A hope in heart, a silent gaze,
The hope had started to die,
My heart had begun to cry,
I would had broken down,
Had it not been for that glance sly.


Those eyes followed me wherever i went,
And in their warmth, I found my strength,
I could not let it go, though i knew it would be wrong,
I knew the love for him in my heart,
Would not be lasting long.


A short stay, his charming ways,
This empty heart, could not reciprocate.


Yet he didn't ask why,
He never let me cry,
He just seemed to know, he bid his silent goodbye.
Yet wherever I went, those eyes kept guard,
Always kept me out of harm's way,
Such was his noble heart.


He asks for nothing in return,
I deserve not this affection,
I want to say, please dont go away,
Yet there's nothing here,
For which you should stay.

Go now! Find a more worthy friend,
And for a long life of happiness,
Yours and hers I'll always pray.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Time

Sometimes I feel this need to be alone. Me, myself, my music, my diary, my novels and my computer that’s it. When I feel like, I read a book, or I listen to a song or when I feel like I stop everything and just sit and sing or I write in my in my diary. And if I feel like talking I call someone or go online or I just sit and play games on the computer or I play with my parrots, talk to them, sing for them.
Or just nothing. I just sit and do nothing at all. Not bother about anything or anyone. For a change I don’t let life rule over me , I rule my life, I decide everything for myself, without having to bother about what someone will think.
I know its not possible forever. I’m also addicted to a life filled with excitement and challenges, unexpected surprises and problems and most of all I am addicted to being constantly in the company of people. I love getting to know new people, making new friends and spending time with all my friends.
But still once in a while I want to have this ‘only me time’. Just me and no one else, no obligations, just live as if there were no cares in the world! I’ m not sure how, but somehow it helps me discover myself, understand myself better, to unwind myself, to know what I want with my life. One such day and I suddenly feel geared up to face the world with an energy that I never knew existed inside me. I feel more in touch with myself and I feel kinder, more caring, I love everyone and everything around me and I feel happier and more satisfied.
Just a little bit of time can make such a big difference!!!